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Channel Must Adapt To Cloud, Says New ChannelBiz Site

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Big changes are coming in the channel, says ChannelBiz editor Mke Magee

Industry experts highlighted the need for the channel to adapt to the growth of cloud computing, during the launch of channel-dedicated title ChannelBiz.

NetMediaEurope CEO Dominique Busso launched the new site in the Soho Hotel in the centre of London this morning to a crowd of industry figures, journalists and PRs.

The channel must adapt

At the event Mike Magee, Editor in Chief of ChannelBiz, and editor of TechEye. highlighted the need for the channel to modernise itself in order to adapt to major changes.

“The channel has changed drastically,” Magee said. “Distribution is not dead but the nature of the business has changed.”

The channel now needs to show it can compete with services like Amazon, he said, yet there is a lack of inclination to embrace the possibilities of new technology in many cases.

Thierry Hamelin of NetMediaEurope says that adapting to the use of cloud computing is one of the ways in which the market will be forced to change.  However it is not currently seen as enough of a priority amongst some channel players.

According to research into the market conducted by NetMediaEurope as part of the launch, 72 percent of businesses see staying competitive as the main challenge over the next few years.  However Hamelin highlighted that only 7 percent seem to be aware of the challenges of shifting to use of cloud computing in future.

Many businesses do view the use of cloud computing in the coming years as beneficial, though many VARs and resellers are not yet impacted, Hamelin said. Fears remain over the investment costs as well, he pointed out, and the fact that margins are not improved by cloud computing does not help either.

However the main opportunity lies in the ability to garner recurring sales, as well attracting new sales.  Furthermore, possibilities are opened up for developing new channel partnerships.

Social media was also presented as a challenge to the channel staying relevant.   Too often firms take to churning out info through Twitter or Facebook accounts, something that PRs and journalists at the event were well aware of.  As Magee says, certain brand vendors are more innovative with their approach, and this lends to much better engagement with clientele and customers.

According to Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons and part of a panel at launch, the need for innovation is key as big changes to the channel are opening up the space for smaller innovative firms to come in and shake things up.

He and Clive Longbottom, Quocirca Service Director and also part of the panel, agreed that more of a consensus needs to be reached on cloud services. Longbottom says that vendors are still confused about what cloud really is, like most people in fact – possibly even cloud firms themselves, and are struggling to come to terms with a cohesive approach.

Cloud interoperability is a mess

“Its very early days, and we are still awaiting mainstream adoption,” Longbottom says, pointing out that currently “it’s a mess”.

Interoperability is vital, on one hand, however too much could prove to stifle innovation, although this is an area which is open to debate.

With many challenges – and indeed opportunities – facing the channel, Magee says that the newly launched ChannelBiz will help highlight and analyse reaction to ongoing changes facing the industry.

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